- God has blessed Jamaica with a naturally beautiful physical environment. We are the stewards of this land.
- Economic and social development does not have to be at the expense of the environment.
- Each of us leaves a footprint on the sands of our environment in our journey towards growth and development.
We celebrate Labour Day this year under the theme “’Take a stand… Beautify our Land’.
This is an exhortation that has my full support.
God has blessed Jamaica with a naturally beautiful physical environment. We are the stewards of this land. As we seek to build our society and economy, we sometimes neglect, sacrifice and even scar our beautiful environment. Economic and social development does not have to be at the expense of the environment. As stewards of the land God gave to us, it is within our capacity to build our society and economy while protecting and even enhancing our environment. Indeed, it is through the protection and enhancement of our environment that we will sustain the growth and development of our society and economy.
Environmental issues, such as climate change, deforestation, and extinction of species of plant and animal life, may sound larger than our field of social responsibility and far removed from our realities in Jamaica. While these large environmental problems require intervention at the level of national governments and international agencies, the effects of these problems are felt locally and are closer to us than we think. More frequent and intense weather events, such as hurricanes, flooding and drought, have direct impact on our daily lives, from agriculture and food supply, to health and to energy supply costs.
Our individual actions have collectively created these global environmental issues. We can create our own small local solutions and collectively have a positive global impact on our environment.
Each of us leaves a footprint on the sands of our environment in our journey towards growth and development. Is our footprint one that tramples the environment, by disposing of waste in our gullies, cutting down our trees, overfishing in sanctuaries, and releasing harmful chemicals into the atmosphere by uncontrolled burning of garbage? Or as good stewards, do we accept the challenge to order our individual steps so we can protect and preserve our God given gift for which we must account some day?
What is the first step? The spread of a general consciousness about the environment is always a good idea. Events like Labour Day offer us a National platform on which we can have a conversation about our environment and preserving the beauty of our land. Labour Day also offers the opportunity for empowerment and action individually or collectively.
Those plastic bottles that we throw out with the rest of garbage, sometimes in the gullies, how about separating them for a recycling company to collect? Why not plant some trees and flowers today? Today would be the perfect opportunity to change out those incandescent light bulbs to more energy conserving bulbs.
The beautification of our land is not only of aesthetic value but it also speaks to the principles of a healthy environment and healthy living. How about cleaning up the sidewalk infront of your home and while you are at it call on your neigbour to join in and before you know it you would have cleaned up the entire street and made a beautiful landscape.
Let this Labour Day be the beginning of our consciousness as good stewards of our land. Let us take a stand, to order our steps so that our footprints will show a positive impact on our land. Have a rewarding labour day.
Andrew Holness, MP
May 19, 2014